I was ecstatic when El Gamma Penumbra won the first Asia’s Got Talent. It was a moment of pride for the Philippines.
But I got caught up in another story — the story of how Gerphil Flores, who placed third in this same show, was once rejected in the local version of the talent show, Pilipinas Got Talent, five years ago. Two lady judges told her that she was better off using her voice to sing pop songs rather than her classical choices. As a result, she was eliminated. Gerphil (known then as Fame) stood her ground and told the judges that it was what she did well, that she was hopeful that her kind of singing (a cross-over combining pop with classical singing) would catch on with the young people.
Her story brought me back to many, many years ago when I was just in my 20s. I had just been accepted into an Ivy League business school in the United States, under a scholarship grant from my employer. Two other U.S. schools had also accepted me. It was a great time of joy knowing that one of my dreams was about to come true. Then, a colleague came up to me. I knew she had the best of intentions and was just looking out for me. She said, “Jane, if you take your MBA abroad, you are going to scare all the guys away. They’d be so intimidated by you.”
For a while there, her statement bothered me. And I actually wondered if that was going to be true. Doubts crept in and I wavered, thinking if I was making the right choice. But deep down, I knew I’d never live with myself if I made the doubt become my inner talk. My inner voice said, “If a guy is going to be intimidated because of whatever you accomplish, he doesn’t deserve you.” Long story short, I went on to finish my MBA program from that business school, married someone who accepted me hook, line and sinker, and now I enjoy conversations with friends, men and women alike, who are not fazed by me and who are confident in themselves. I can never exchange what I am now for what life would have been had I listened to that comment.
Back to Gerphil Flores…
I am so proud of how Gerphil held her head high back then and, in spite of the tears that fell, squarely told the judges she would continue singing her way. She knew her strengths. And she listened to her gut. That proved her right. THE David Foster gave her the Golden Buzzer at Asia’s Got Talent and promised her that the world will know about her. She has been vindicated!
And this is what I leave with you, young ladies, who are still trying to forge a career or pursue your passions:
Learn to listen, really listen, to your gut, your intuition. Women like us have this wonderful gift. When we listen and act on it, it will bring us to our real destination.
Let no one dampen your spirits when you decide to pursue your passion. It is no guarantee that you will succeed on your first try but you will never go through life asking, “What if…”
Never make yourself less than you really are because men who are secure in themselves will like you (love you!) precisely for your brains.
Many decisions made with the true self bring inner peace, even if it is a decision others may not agree with.
Watch this video showing how Gerphil responded 5 years ago on Pilipinas Got Talent:
Now, watch how she impressed the judges of Asia’s Got Talent:
We can be sure Gerphil Flores will go a long, long way with David Foster at her side. I wish her well. May there be more Filipinas like her who are shining because they choose to be their true selves.
And….if you are reading this and you are in a situation where you are being pulled in two directions, the final decision as to which path to follow is often a struggle but always, true happiness only happens when one is doing what one is passionate about. I wish you peace in this decision.